Reign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer [SPOILER-FREE ARC REVIEW]

CoverWARNING: IF YOU HAVEN’T READ HEART OF MIST, YOU ARE SUBJECTING YOURSELF TO SPOILERS.

SYNOPSIS

The realm’s darkest secret is out.

The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents.

On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust.

But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does.

Intriguing and action-packed, Reign of Mist is the second installment in Helen Scheuerer’s epic YA fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles.


Review

*I WAS PROVIDED AN E-ARC IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*

Firstly, I’d like to give a big thank you to Helen for putting me on her ARC list and for extending my review date. This book has been a highly anticipated read for me, and I’m so glad I was given this amazing opportunity.

Now, onto the review.

Something that stuck out throughout the entirety of the book was the female role. Unlike the usual “guy saves girl” novel that we often find ourselves reading in all genres, we find a sequel that—much like the first novel—focuses on the strength of women and the power they hold over men.

Helen did a very good job switching and equalizing the roles in this book. Not only did she do that, but she also put in a segment where women were placed in front of men as something to play with, only to be utterly surprised with what was held underneath.

Despite my blindness, and my youth, I know that trust needs to be earned, from princes and commanders alike.

In this book, multiple POVs are given. Usually, that can be found really confusing and hard to follow, but Helen made it a point to write the necessity of multiple POVs in each chapter.

Princess Olena didn’t have many parts in this book, but what I found in her few parts was actually pretty important. This quote, for one, should apply to everyone and everything. Like my favorite quote from one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (aka Transformers: Age of Extinction) “Trust is but a flower in the wind.” What that means, is that it is hard to gain but worth the effort.

The princess made this very apparent, especially with Prince Nazuri—a new character that readers are introduced to. She made it well known that she didn’t put her trust into anyone easily, even pointing it out to Commander Swinton—someone she’s known for a very long time.

The reason trust is even being pointed out in this review is because it was a key factor of this book. Though not outwardly thrown out in some of the situations, it was apparent that the characters were all going through multiple adjustments to the new relationships and situations they found themselves in. Because of this, they had to put their trust into who they were with and what they were doing.

Your secrets have kept you company far too long.

Another key element in this book: secrets. There are LOTS of secrets.

Some of these secrets are made apparent before they’re revealed. Readers might find themselves on the edge of their sitting surfaces, screaming at their screens or book pages for the characters to figure it out faster.

But when I mention secrets, I must warn to caution yourselves. Some of these are real plot twisters. A lot of surprises came out of the secrets revealed, and I love how Helen handled them.

The plot of this book was well thought out and planned, the characters underwent the development to progress the story along, and I was thoroughly shocked wordless by this story. For all of this, I give this book 5/5 stars. I cannot wait for the conclusion novel, and I am waiting ever so impatiently for it.

P.S. I really want to smack Swinton and kiss poor Dash.


Review (1)

9898249.jpgHelen Scheuerer is the YA fantasy author of the bestselling novel, Heart of Mist (2017) and the upcoming sequel Reign of Mist (September 2018). Both books are part of the action-packed trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.

After writing literary fiction for a number of years, novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling inspired Helen to return to her childhood love of fantasy.

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.

Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. Helen also completed a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.

She has been previously shortlisted for Express Media’s Outstanding Achievement by a Young Person in the Literary Arts Award and the Young Writers Showcase. Helen has also run writing and editing workshops for the NSW Society of Women Writers. 

Her work has appeared in VoiceworksACTWrite Magazine, The UEA Creative Writing Anthology, Tertangala (UOW), Capital Letters and of course, on Writer’s Edit.

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[BLOG TOUR + CUSTOM PLAYLIST] Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

CoverSYNOPSIS

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?


Review

THANK YOU TO FRIYA AT PENGUINTEEN FOR ALLOWING ME TO JOIN THIS BLOG TOUR!

From co-authors Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka comes a witty, romantic, and relatable contemporary novel.

Megan Harper—the main character of this beautiful novel—is the girl before, as the synopsis states. Every boy she’s ever known to date has found someone after their break-ups, someone better than what she could have ever been.

This can be found to the readers as quite a sad position for Megan. She’s just a girl trying to get accepted into the college of her dreams, where she can become the director she wants to be. However, when she is cast as Juliet—the lead role in her high school’s upcoming play—she is outright with anger, agitation, and nervousness. She only tried out to fill and complete the acting requirement for the college she dreams of.

For this part, I can honestly feel for her. I’m more into the acting role myself, but that doesn’t take away the fear and nervousness I feel every time I’m in front an audience, no matter the size.

It’s during this acting period where she meets Owen—a shy, playwriter who’s Italian girlfriend no one has ever seen or heard of. It’s hard not to crush on him during this book, especially because of the fact that he’s so sweet to Megan. By that, it is meant that he basically became a wingman for her.

This is where things kind of shift toward the “really?” side. Megan is independent. She’s strong, she’s witty, and she’s a bit of a flirt. She’s completely boy-crazy, is what you could say. It’s really hard to find characters like this in YA Contemporary nowadays because everyone is so transfixed on making their female main characters these feeble, helpless girls that require handholding for the majority of the book.

I was really excited to see such a headstrong, independent character for once. However, that doesn’t mean she didn’t come with faults—because boy, she definitely has some faults. But it meant that we would get a character that us independent girls—and some guys—can relate to. Lots of praise to the authors for that.

“I didn’t audition for the part, you know,” I say, hoping to difuse the tension. This kind of drama is yet another reason I prefer directing.

Megan makes it really clear in this book that there are girls who really don’t like her. Her best friend happens to be someone that is friends with a lot of people, and it was mentioned more than once that Megan didn’t want to just be known as the girl who was friends with Madeleine.

This is yet another really relatable part of the story. When comparing Contemporary to real-life, it’s really important to capture the realistic aspects. The authors did a really great job of capturing those aspects, and it was really exciting and easy to catch those parts.

For that, I rate this book 5/5 stars. The characters were funny, relatable, and all-out favorites of mine, the plot was well written and received, and the story, in general, was amazing. I can’t wait to read more from these two in the future.


Review (1)

AEJointPhoto_CREDIT Sue GrubmanRaised by a school librarian, Austin’s always had a passion for books, especially books for young people. He met and fell in love with Emily in high school and went to Harvard University for undergrad. He studied English (focusing on Shakespeare) and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. Recently, Austin worked as a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter and was a UCLA law student; however, there’s nothing he loves like writing with Emily. Emily, whose parents are screenwriters, has loved writing and story-telling since an age she hardly remembers. Since meeting Austin (she says it was middle school–accounts vary), Emily attended Princeton University for undergrad, studied psychology, and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. While at Princeton, she wrote the first novel in her self-published YA fantasy trilogy, The Last Oracle, which was featured in USA Today and was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.


For this blog tour, I also signed on to create a custom playlist that I listened to while reading this book. I hope you enjoy the songs I picked, for they’re some of my favorites!

Come My Way – PLVTINUM

R U Crazy – Conor Maynard

Getaway – Tritonal

Worst in Me – Unlike Pluto

Havana – Camila Cabello

Let You Down – NF

The Girl – Hellberg

Do You? – TroyBoi

Apologize – One Republic

Beast – Mia Martina

Ahead of Myself – X Ambassadors

Prologue (Romeo and Juliet) – Connor Wallowitz

August and Everything After by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW]

36104569SYNOPSIS

Summer on the New Jersey shore offers Quinn a new start at life and love, but only if she can come to terms with her past 

Graduation can’t come soon enough. Desperate for a fresh start, Quinn is eager to escape to her aunt’s house on the New Jersey shore for the summer…away from teenage drama and having to answer everyone’s questions about “what comes next” after high school.

Quinn can’t bear to focus on the future. She doesn’t even think she deserves one—not after her best friend died in a car accident that Quinn feels responsible for. But when Quinn meets Malcolm, a musician who has been trying to escape his own demons, she starts to believe in second chances.


Review

*I WAS SENT AN E-ARC IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*

From the author of How My Summer Went Up in Flames comes an amazingly written contemporary about a girl with a bad past.

Quinn Gallo is a newly graduated girl who is struggling to find her “life plan” like her mom wants. For the summer, she’s staying with her aunt and working two jobs in the town. While working for her job at a bar, the singer that is performing that night—Malcolm Trent—approaches her.

You have pretty eyes, Quinn. You shouldn’t hide them behind ugly glasses.

This quote is actually pretty relatable for me. I’ve gotten this comment before, even though I absolutely love my glasses and wouldn’t trade them for any other pairs. Quinn and I actually share a few things. Like her, I also have cat-like eyes that multiple people have pointed out to me.

All in all, this story has become a new favorite. The characters were well developed and relatable, the plot was well understood and liked, and the tension was perfect. For that, this book has earned its rating of 5/5 stars.


Review (1)

6459723Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is the author of the YA novels, HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES, FAMOUS LAST WORDS, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, THE SUMMER AFTER YOU & ME, a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee and the forthcoming AUGUST & EVERYTHING AFTER.

Her first paid writing gig was as an editorial assistant for the North Jersey Herald & News, where, in addition to developing a life-long passion for coffee and news, she wrote obituaries for eight months. She also worked as a speechwriter, bank teller, ghostwriter, bookkeeper in a lampshade factory, pet shop clerk, and music zine editor.

She lives with her family in New Jersey and spends her summers “down the shore,” where everything’s always all right.

Hired Fiancée by Betty Maxine [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW]

51VOOBt9LmL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_SYNOPSIS

As the months go by, Betty Blanc is no closer to achieving her aim of restoring the reputation of the business her father so easily ruined. Her career as a lawyer is just getting started but in the worst way possible. She has not yet made a name for herself and the stepping stone she had hoped to use was embroiled in the biggest scandal possible. It’s so obvious she needs a miracle if she’s ever going to survive. Day after day, she is met with rejections and her frustration mounts. Nothing seems to be working. Is her life going to be one of perpetual rejection and failure? Is she ever going to be free of her father’s faux pas? Doom seems to be the only reception awaiting her until she gets a mind-blowing offer – a retainership with the famous Ryder Williams in exchange for a fake engagement. Is this the long-awaited miracle? Ryder Williams offers her his businesses in exchange for a fake engagement, why would she say no?


Review

*I WAS SENT AN E-COPY IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*

For fans of the Contemporary and Romance genres, this book has been shared far and wide. Betty Maxine has brought about a common title in the Romance genre but has put her own twist to it.

When first reading this book, readers will notice immediately that the character shares a name with the author. This doesn’t always necessarily mean a bad thing, and in this case, it isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a risky play that people like to pick apart.

However, as readers start to tune in more to this novel, something else pops out. I don’t normally pull this out if I see it, but it does worry me when a novel has been published and spelling, grammar, or punctuational errors are present. Normally, a book would go through many stages of editing before turned to the printer, but this was really hard to look past after seeing it occur over however many pages.

Moving on from that, we get into the plot of the story and the relationship between Betty Blanc and Ryder Williams. Ryder Williams is a famous, rich playboy that is commonly seen throughout many romance novels. When his wealth is put on the line by his own father, he is forced to find a woman willing to play as his “fiancee” until he can prove to his father that he isn’t fooling around.

This is where Betty comes into the part. Betty is a lawyer who is rebuilding the reputation of a business her father destroyed, leaving her empty-handed as to how to get people to trust her. It was felt that people turned her down a little too quickly, barely giving it much thought before deciding on their decision.

After Ryder approaches her about a “deal” the two of them could make, she accepts it hesitantly. Throughout this book, it’s been made very clear that Betty closes herself off. A lot. She prefers to stray from any type of friendly interaction, but she does love to paint and dance in her free time.

In their brochure, they did say that they entertained painters from time to time so she was hoping they would have some in storage and surely enough they did.

This quote actually confused me a little bit. Something major happens that causes Betty to have to stay at a hotel for a little bit, and she was kind of an emotional wreck when she made that decision. This is where it becomes a question as to how she checked out the brochure of this hotel to know that they had painting supplies, when just before she had been freaking out.

She is also, as most people would call it, a big tease. She is strictly professional half the time, but then in some instances, she’d let a smile or a laugh slip. But almost immediately afterward, her walls would go back up.

Well, if you had behaved well, maybe you would have gotten a treat.

Again, I am confused by this quote. Just minutes before, she’d been acting standoffish and kind of anti-social with Ryder. It’s not that I don’t think this is possible, it’s that I didn’t notice she was even fairly interested in him at that moment. I felt that, had it been made clearer, I wouldn’t have been so put off by this quote.

Other than those few things, the plot was clear. The character development was slow but made, and the author did a good job of making the moral clear. Everyone deserves love, even the people who are different from most. For that, this book receives a rating of 3/5 stars.


Review (1)

Betty Maxine Onwuteaka is a lady who is passionate about following her dreams. At a young age, she showed signs of determination and whatever she set her mind to do, be it her education or her hobby, she would talk about it like it was the only thing that mattered and do all within her power to make it happen.

After attaining her A-levels in Law, French and Economics, she took a year off school. It was during that year she decided to publish ‘Hired Fiancée’, a story she had been writing alongside her A-level studies. It is the first in the ‘Betty and Ryder’ series and the second in the series is close on its heels.

The support of her family and friends has been pivotal in bringing this dream come to life.

To this day, her decision to publish her book has been a source of great fulfillment. She sees it as her first real step in taking charge of her future. She decided to let go of the ‘what ifs’ and hold onto the ‘when’

The Bionics by Peter Gulgowski [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW]

33295809SYNOPSIS

ANETA INDUSTRIES is the creator of the Network — a smart-learning operating system that runs the updates for humans who have bought upgrades for their bodies. But when a computer virus shuts down the Network, all those with an upgrade also shut down. For days, those without trying to figure out what happened. Then, the Network returns.

But things aren’t as they seem. It is quickly learned that the Network has programmed its users to begin the extermination of the human race.

As survivors go looking for ways to take out Aneta’s artificially intelligent operating system while avoiding death from the bionics, they find that Aneta is much deeper into their society than they ever thought, and time is running out before it’s too late to stop them.

Returning to the dystopian genre, author Peter Gulgowski takes readers on a whirlwind adventure through a futuristic Los Angeles in the midst of a war between bionics and humans, questioning where we draw the line on artificial intelligence.

In the shadows of his first dystopian novel, ‘The Government,’ ‘The Bionics’ serves up a new type of dystopian world which will please fans of Gulgowski and welcome a new group of readers to Gulgowski’s books.


Review

*I WAS SENT A PHYSICAL COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*

For fans of the Dystopian and Science Fiction genres, this new novel has been brought to the table. Peter Gulgowski has been working hard to produce many books and has recently finished and published The Bionics.

However, this is in no relation to his first Dystopian novel The Government. This book, from what we can tell, is a stand-alone. It has the aspects readers would expect from a network run world.

After Aneta Industries gains enough power in the United States, it sends what survivors suspect as an EMP out, shutting off any and all electricity throughout the country. People who have received implants from the company fall “lifeless,” shocking others into fear of the unknown. It isn’t until these people start to rise and kill any remaining survivors that the fear is made known.

Andrew and Kay Krueger are a couple who has been trying and failing to conceive a child. Just before the outbreak happened, Kay was considering having an implant put in that would allow for her to finally have children, but her husband was strictly against it.

Kay, you know I want nothing more than a kid with you, but all this fake bionic limb shit…it fucking scares me, and I’ll be honest. I—I just don’t have a good feeling about it. At work, they’re implementing Aneta everything. It’s like putting the world’s eggs into one basket. What if something goes wrong with Aneta? Then, everything with a computer chip gets fucked.

After the power goes out, Max and Joel Price are introduced to their neighbors Kay and Andrew. The four band up together in a group, quickly escaping their home after an invasion of “the Bionics” from Aneta happens and searching for safety somewhere else.

This book was action packed, filled to the brim with information that can be felt as a little overwhelming in some instances. One other small problem is that it can be a bit choppy or laggy in some places, meaning that it doesn’t flow as well as Peter’s other books have.

Other than those few parts, the plot flowed nicely, the character development was small but there, and readers were still awestruck by the power of this author. For that, this book receives a rating of 4/5 stars.


Review (1)

gaKQq8r8_400x400Peter Gulgowski was born and raised in a suburb in Wisconsin. He began writing at the age of fourteen during a study hall session in which he had already finished his homework. Several years later, his debut novel, The Government, would become published. Mr. Gulgowski remains a student, with hopes of becoming a full-time writer.

Inspired by authors such as J.K. Rowling, John Green, Veronica Roth, and so many others, Gulgowski hopes one day to join their ranks in inspiring the next generation of storytellers.

A Casual Silence by Peter Gulgowski [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW]

1074989SYNOPSIS

High School is a vicious game in which the rules must be followed. Failure to follow those set rules, and you’ll find yourself kicked from the game into the dreaded, obscure world of unpopularity. 

A Casual Silence is the story between seventeen-year-olds, Jack Wither and Sara Elliot. Jack is an outcast writer, seeking his literary big-break, while Sara is the princess at their high-school. According to the rulebook of high-school, these two should never cross paths, but during an assigned project, that unwritten rule changes. 

Jack has always loved Sara Elliot. She was his first crush in the fourth grade. Years would pass and finally, when their English teacher assigns them to work together, Jack gets his chance to meet the girl behind his boyhood crush. 

Sara Elliot has forever lived under the shadow of her overbearing mother. She’s lived her life, in many ways, for her mother. Yet, there’s always been this person inside her, whom she’s simply known as “Sara.” Everyone knows Sara Elliot, but few, if any, have ever met “Sara.” Winning at the game of high-school, popularity, success, and friends have always come easy for her. Sara knows she’s lucky, but the version of herself, the version suppressed for years, wonders if there is something much larger out in the real-world than the world she and her friends live in. When she meets Jack Wither, she won’t have to wonder. She’ll know.


Review

*I WAS SENT A PHYSICAL COPY IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*

From the indie author of The Government, Peter Gulgowski has jumped back into the writer’s portal with his new YA contemporary, A Casual Silence. This book will shock readers into silence after the words they are about to read.

A Casual Silence starts off like any other contemporary novel. The main character—Jack Wither—is introduced as a nerdy boy who has a wish to become an author. This makes it easy for readers—who wish to become writers—connect with him, for they will understand his struggles to become noticed.

Supposedly, he was working on some eotic-fetish book? I don’t know how much truth is in that. Considering the source, I don’t think much.

After getting paired up with his crush on a class assignment, Sara Elliot learns more about the mystery that is Jack Wither. Their relationship grows closer and closer, the drama growing more and more. Boundaries are tested, leaving both to wonder what is between them.

Peter Gulgowski blew readers away, giving an ending that was so unexpected, it angered them into sadness. The plot flowed freely, the characters all developed as expected—maybe even a bit more than that—and readers were left with tissues in hand as the final pages were flipped. For that, this book receives a rating of 5/5 stars.


Review (1)

gaKQq8r8_400x400Peter Gulgowski was born and raised in a suburb in Wisconsin. He began writing at the age of fourteen during a study hall session in which he had already finished his homework. Several years later, his debut novel, The Government, would become published. Mr. Gulgowski remains a student, with hopes of becoming a full-time writer.

Inspired by authors such as J.K. Rowling, John Green, Veronica Roth, and so many others, Gulgowski hopes one day to join their ranks in inspiring the next generation of storytellers.

The Government by Peter Gulgowski [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW]

41mKLSRwXdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_SYNOPSIS

Fifty years ago, the government was taken over by a new world power called The Second Founding Fathers. In that time, they also began the extermination of the undesirables.

Now, in the present, a country led by Gloria Chambers allows for only the desirables to live. The others are sent to massive extermination camps where they are disposed of to cleanse society.

Aria, Ethan, and Zeke are three teenagers who are being held in a detention zone located in modern-day Chicago. When it is learned that they are next for extermination, they enlist the help of a government soldier who offers to help them escape.

But they won’t be alone. A lone survivor group who has fought for the survival of the undesirables, the Resistance, is out there hiding. It’s up to them to find it.

The stakes for restoring order and justice to the country could not be higher. Can the three join forces with the Resistance and stop Gloria Chambers and her rule once and for all, or is it already too late?

Debut author Peter Gulgowski bursts onto the literary scene with a breakneck dystopian thriller, filled with breathtaking moments, betrayals, stunning revelations, and an unforgettable villain who will haunt you long after the last page. For fans of the Divergent and Hunger Games series, ‘The Government’ will be a new favorite.


Review

For this debut novel, Peter Gulgowski has managed to hit the ball out of the park with The Government. Fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games will be on the edge of their seats, clinging to each and every page filled to the brim this novel is.

At birth, citizens of the Dystopian United States are decided if they are Desirable or Undesirable. If you are a Desirable, you are treated with the highest of honors, and that includes richness, popularity, and so on. If you are an Undesirable, you better pray that you make it to the age of eighteen before they come for you.

Aria Hill—the first main character—is an Undesirable who’s been closed off and confined to the walls of a government-run compound since she was born. After her friend attempts and fails to escape, she is left wondering if she’ll ever see outside the walls. A government soldier by the name of Jace—the second main character—offers to lead Aria and her friends to safety in the form of the Resistance—the only group physically capable of taking out the leader, Gloria Chambers.

Only a few had tried to escape, and it didn’t end well.

This becomes no easy feat, and Jace and Aria are left to scramble for their lives, leaving behind loved ones just for the opportunity of a life they were so cruelly stripped of.

Peter Gulgowski takes fans by surprise with this book, giving an ending that was both seen and unheard of. The plot flowed, the characters were well developed, and most importantly, the moral was received. For that, this book receives a rating of 5/5 stars.


Review (1)

gaKQq8r8_400x400Peter Gulgowski was born and raised in a suburb in Wisconsin. He began writing at the age of fourteen during a study hall session in which he had already finished his homework. Several years later, his debut novel, The Government, would become published. Mr. Gulgowski remains a student, with hopes of becoming a full-time writer.

Inspired by authors such as J.K. Rowling, John Green, Veronica Roth, and so many others, Gulgowski hopes one day to join their ranks in inspiring the next generation of storytellers.